“This was your call, Kilowog”
I wasn’t sure what to expect with the second issue of Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion when I first looked at the cover, depicting some of the Green Lanterns trying to evade a number of dead members of the Corps. As is often the case what’s on the cover of a comic doesn’t match what’s on the inside, however the symbolism of the Green Lanterns trying to escape their own deaths rings true.
In this issue writer Tom Taylor expands on the encounter between the Corps and the inhabitants of Perduron, the last refuge of the survivors from the universe in the time before our own. Last month we saw poor Muk Muk bite the dust in the closing moments of issue one, and in this month’s installment Taylor uses the death to create tension, most notably between Guy Gardner and Kilowog. Taylor also makes use of Simon Baz’s unique perspective with a nice bit of dialog about the repercussions of grouping people together and judging them all by the actions of a few, something he knows all too much about.
When I wrote my review of the first issue one of my observations was that Edge of Oblivion feels more like a team book than Cullen Bunn’s effort and Taylor’s approach to the series continues to be more about the Corps than any one member. This month gives some panel time to a number of the cast and they all make contributions to the overall narrative. I will say though that Guy Gardner and Kilowog do edge the others out in terms of focus as Taylor seems to be putting them at odds with each other and by the end of the issue there reaches a boiling point.
The catalyst for Guy’s frustration and anger comes from the apparent loss of two more members of the Corps, and if Muk Muk’s made you feel bad then prepare yourself for more hurt as both characters have been around for a while and are fan favorites. You’ll notice I said “apparent loss” because we don’t really see them die as much as assume they are dead as their fates remain a mystery. A part of me suspects that they are less dead than they seem, and maybe more like “transported to another place and/or time”. Unlike Muk Muk there’s no corpse to bury and there’s that whole “if there’s no body” thing to consider.
The big bad of the story is revealed to be a character called Marniel who lives underneath the city, plotting evil deeds to suit some as yet unknown agenda. Marniel and her skeletal followers are given a suitably creepy character design by Ethan Van Sciver, who continues to bring his A game to the series. His attention to detail is always one of this strong suits and things like the detail on Two-Six’s hair/tentacles and the subtle work on Kilowog’s face add that extra boost to the visuals. The three panels where Guy reacts to the loss of his comrades did a great job of showing the range of emotion that he feels in realizing they are gone. Likewise Van Sciver makes John Stewart’s determination very real as raw willpower is etched on his face as he and his team fight to save Perduron from drifting into the void.
In two issues Taylor has given us a great deal of action and if there’s a weak spot it’s in making this story an emotional journey for those who aren’t connected to the Green Lantern lore. Anyone picking this series up cold may not appreciate the deaths of characters that fans have come to know and love or be able to instantly understand the reactions of other characters for whom they don’t have any connection to. There’s a lack of an emotional anchor to the story for new readers which may lessen their experience compared to those of us who’ve been on this rollercoaster from the start.
We also don’t quite yet know enough about Marniel and her agenda have much of a feeling about her beyond knowing that what she wants seems to be in direct conflict with the nobler appearing intentions of Ausras and Dismas. We’re one third of the way through the story so there’s still time for that to be revealed but the clock is ticking. I find myself liking this story much more than Lost Army despite the lack of narrative connective tissue between the two miniseries.
Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #2 raises the stakes for the Corps as more obstacles prevent them from focusing on getting back home. Tom Taylor introduces to the story’s main antagonist and possibly kills off two more ring bearers while creating tension between two of the Corps mainstays. The team of Taylor and Ethan Van Sciver are making this six issue event something not to be missed. Eight out of ten lanterns.